Our curriculum is thematic – we have themes for each month of the school year (September though July), some that are inspired by the time of the year and important Italian holidays. We find that it is important to have a well-planned program, but we also find it equally important to have the children surrounded in a rich environment (See Classrooms) to spark children driven activities. The areas of curriculum that we follow are:
- Language, Drama, & Art
- Music & Movement
- Science, Math, & Geography
- Everyday Living Skills
- People & Expanding Our World – how we view ourselves, interact with our peers and other people and living things in the world around us.
Our curriculum is also emergent – we want to encourage children’s natural creative energy that springs from their innate motivation to interact with the world around them. The curriculum will react to experiences, serendipitous events, accidents, chance visitors, and other happenings. The teacher’s role is to support the children’s interests and supply activities that will enrich their learning experience.
The children get very excited when they see a large spider and its web on one of our nature walks. Throughout the next week of school this interest yields numerous activities and opportunities to learn about the life of a spider.
- In circle time we “spin” a web by rolling a large ball of yarn back and forth.
- In the art center, the teachers set out many different materials that could aid in creating spiders (cups from egg crates, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, furry fabric, string).
- Teachers put an array of books about spiders and insects in the reading area.
- Nearby to practice math are a few boxes with various toy insects, spiders, and mammals (including humans). Children are invited to count the legs of the toys and organize them how they see fit.
- Children learn “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” in Italian.
- Children make edible spiders with licorice as legs.
- To practice small motor skills, children make a web by pulling yarn through cuts in a paper plate.
- To practice large motor skills, children learn the spider pose in the yoga area. Also, they go through a spidery obstacle course made of yarn wrapped around tables and chairs.
- In our outdoor playtime, children invent a version of “tag,” where the spider moves slowly and the flies “fly” around quickly until they get stuck the spider’s web.
- On the science discovery table, there is a fish tank with a real spider in it! Children use magnifying glasses to observe the school’s new pet.
- An arachnologist or entomologist is invited from a local university and speaks to the children about what he/she does, bringing a sampling of insects for children to observe.
- Child go on spider hunts and record what they see in a spider journal.
The possibilities are endless for, as Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, “the greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child.”